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DO YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST IN KNOWING HOW A COMPUTER IS BUILT?
Poll ended at Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:34 am
YES 100%  100%  [ 10 ]
NO 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
WHAT'S A COMPUTER? 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 10
 
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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:34 am 
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OK guys and gals.  gdmii is in the process of buying stuff to build a new puter.  He called me the other day and we discussed some new hardware options to fit a "budget" he had in mind but later on he just decided that he was going to build a "screaming bitch" and that money was not an object!  I reminded him of how much money he has saved this year since he hasn't been racing because of his Wife's health issues and he agreed so it looks like you will get to see how this is done.  

It's not rocket science!  All that's needed is some basic knowledge of how the parts work together.  Hardware selection is critical though as components have to be selected that are compatible with other parts, the  motherboard being the main one since it is the foundation of the entire deal.

Anywho, I'll let gdmii explain what he is going to buy and why and we'll go from there.

This thread will be a "sticky" and questions and comments concerning this project are welcome but PLEASE, let's try to stay on topic on this one!!!

ONLY COMPUTER STUFF ON THIS THREAD!
;-)


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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:51 pm 
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I guess the first step in any build is to decide what you're going to use it for.  I'm not a gamer but I do a lot of video encoding and converting which is very CPU intensive.  So I want a pretty fast CPU.  Although Ken said "money is no object" I do want value for the dollar so I'm not going to buy the fastest thing out there simply because it is too expensive for not much performance improvement over a less costly CPU which offers very good performance.  My choice here is:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Yorkfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9450

I have run both Intel and AMD cpus over the years and have no real preference as long as performance/cost is the same.  However, AMD has not kept up with Intel over the last year or so performancewise so Intel gets the nod here.

Now that that decision has been made, it's on to the Motherboard or "mobo" and there's a million of them out there.  Since I'm going to run an Intel CPU I want a mobo with an Intel chipset for compatibility reasons.  You'll see the chipset refered to as Northbridge and Southbridge chips.  Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I put a lot of time in researching reviews on various mobos to see what kinds of experiences others have had with a product I'm considering.  It can save a lot of aggravation.  My choice here is:

GIGABYTE GA-X48-DQ6 LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard

This board has pretty solid reviews and will do what I want and then some.  It's always good to buy a little more mobo than you need.  This board can support 1600MHz FSB (Front Side Bus) speed although the CPU I'm going to use with it runs at 1333MHz FSB.  In the future when (not if) CPU prices decrease I can pick up a faster CPU and won't have to change the mobo.

Same with the RAM.  Buy faster than you need for future upgrades.  2 GB of DDR2 1066 RAM should work nicely:

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK

Were going to need an aftermarket CPU cooler as the stock ones aren't very efficient:

XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler

A heavier attaching system is needed on these big heavy CPU coolers.  The stock fasteners are plastic.  I'm adding this heavy duty unit:

XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket

The PSU (Power Supply Unit) needs to be heavy enough to power everything without brownouts.  This 750w unit should do the trick:

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply

Since SATA blows IDE out of the water with a 3 Gbps transfer rate I'm going with this Western Digital unit.  I may eventually go with a RAID setup to have some redundancy if a drive fails.

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

I've finally decided on this video card.  It should handle everything I'm going to throw at it and then some:

SAPPHIRE 100225L Radeon HD 3870 512MB 256-bit GDDR4 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

This is a good deal on this SATA DVD burner so I'm adding it now versus later:

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model LH-20A1L-06

And we still need the 1.44MB floppy drive just in case:

SAMSUNG Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive

And then we need something to put it all into.  I'm partial to full size tower cases so I have the room to expand:

GIGABYTE GZ-FA2CA-AJB Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case

I'll use my current monitor and I'll add Windows XP Pro and we'll have a very fast computer.

All of these parts have been ordered so the parts list is set.  If any of you guys have any first hand experience, good or bad, with any of these parts feel free to jump in with an opinion.  As the parts come in I'll be posting some pics prior to and during the build with explanations of what I'm doing.

The total for this build including shipping was $1342.02 which also included a small tube of Arctic Silver 5 for the heat sink/CPU cooler and some minature tie wraps for all the wires.  I already have another keyboard and mouse so these aren't included in the cost.

George


Last edited by gdmii on Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:33 pm 
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What??? No questions from anyone?

Bubba that drive is the same as the one you gave me for my bday last fall.  I've got another Segate Baracuda that is an EIDE drive that I've been using for a couple of years now with zero problems.  Segate and Maxtor either merged or one bought the other out recently and it looks like the Maxtor name is going away.  Maxtor was a good one too so maybe the Segate will work as well over time.


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:21 pm 
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I got most of the parts ordered yesterday.  But 1 thing I noticed about Newegg is that they change their prices almost daily.  Looking at my shopping cart total reminded me of looking at my portfolio when I was day trading stocks.  So I'm looking elsewhere for a few parts but am staying with the specs as listed above with the possibility of a different video card.

I just upgraded my current computer from a 2.0aGHz P4 to a 3.06GHz and RAM from 1GB to 2GB.  I saw a slight increase in speed with the CPU change but no noticeable increase with the additional RAM.  On the new computer I will start with 2GB of RAM and then add 2 more to see if it makes a difference.

Just some tech info if you guys are upgrading is that XP will support a max of 4 gigs of RAM while Vista will support 8 gigs.  As I'm planning on staying with XP, 4 gigs of RAM will max me out.  With XP if you install 4 gigs of RAM the POST will show 4 gigs but the system info will show something less than that as some of that 4 gig address space is reserved for peripherals depending on what hardware you have installed in your system.  So don't be surprised if system info shows anywhere from 3-3.5 gigs.

Aside from the CPU, the biggest bottleneck in performance appears to be the hard drive.  Going to a SATA hard drive with its 3 Gbps transfer rate will probably show as much of a performance increase as upgrading the CPU.

George


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:33 pm 
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So Bubba, doesn't the x64 version of Winderz XP support more than 4GB of memory? O:)  Or am I all wet here?

So what is the advantage of that CPU (also known as "the Processor" or "the Chip") that you ordered?  What does all that duo/quad s**t mean anyway? ;-)


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:07 pm 
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Ken0069 wrote:
 What does all that duo/quad s**t mean anyway? ;-)


Same as the carb set up. :-k  =;

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:30 pm 
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I guess I should have specifically said "32 bit XP".  I didn't because with the advent of Vista the word is that Microsoft is no longer supporting 64 bit XP with new drivers for new hardware.  I've never used the 64 bit XP but I hear there are some incompatibilities with some software and with the lack of MS support I'll just stay with the tried and true 32 bit XP.  64 bit XP can actually support 16 gigs of RAM.  And while we're getting more specific, when I was referring to Vista I was meaning Vista Home as the one that supports 8 gigs.  Vista Premium can support 16 gigs and the Ultimate and Enterprise business versions can support 128 gigs.  But for 32 bit systems, 4 gigs is the max.  This is funny though.  Remember the old days when DOS only could use 640k?  If you had 1 MB the balance was available for extended or expanded memory but good ole DOS could only use 640k!  Now we're talking of Gigabytes of RAM.  We've really come a long way.

As far as the new Duo and Quad CPUs go, the names imply the number of processing cores present in the CPU.  The Quads have 4 separate cores each processing an instruction with each tick of the clock while the Duo has 2.  In other words, much more processing power.  I do a lot of CPU intensive video conversions so it will be interesting to see how much difference the increased performance will make.  It currently can take a couple of hours to process some avi files to get ready to burn a DVD.  It will be nice to see that get cut by 50-75%.

George


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:07 pm 
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I'm a little bit rusty on this new technology so this may not be absloute.  You can get the general idea though.

I guess its somewhat important to also note that when George makes reference to "tick of the clock" he is actually talking about the sign wave of alternating current, sort of.  These systems operate on AC current principle in that if you look at it on a scope you would see a middle line with wavy lines going equally above and below it called a sign wave, or some s**t like that.  When the word "clock cycle" is used, or as George says "tick of the clock" what they mean is one complete cycle of a sign wave which is starting at that line it will cycle down and up and over then back to zero.  These cycles are actually called Hz and your light bulb at home operates the same way.  On computers though these cycles happen as MHz instead of just Hz.  Your light bulb is actually turning on and off 60 times a second whereas the Processors are doing that millions of times a second!!  On the Duo and Quad cores, they have those things clocked so they fire off data and opposite times, ie, Quads fire off 4 times a cycle and Duos fire off twice a cycle.  Not exactly sure of this on the Processors but on memory, they now have it where data is transferred twice a cycle (at the lower and upper peak of the clock cycle) and if the Processors are doing this also then that's twice the number I just posted.  The old style 3DFX VooDoo 5 3D video cards did the same thing as they were actually two VooDoo 3500 video chips on the same board and they were syncronized to fire opposite each other in order to DOUBLE the data rate for a given clock cycle.  

Yeah, I know the s**t is getting kinda deep so I'll stop now.  The important thing to note though is as George said, with a Quad, you have 4 Processors that are firing off data at least 4 (and possibly 8) times faster than a normal single Processor could.  AKA, screaming bitch!!  =;


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:14 pm 
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Yup, that was deeper than I was going to go unless someone asked but you're right on Ken.  And that Mhz we're talking about guys has now grown to GHz as some mobos can now support 1333MHz or 1.33GHz and 1600MHz or 1.6GHz.  There is only one CPU on the comsumer market that can handle the 1600 MHz though and that CPU costs a few thousand bucks!!  The one I'm building uses the 1333MHz Front Side Bus speed and the CPU runs at 2.66GHz.  I like round numbers so I may overclock it to 3.0GHz which is a pretty mild overclock.  Should be a screaming mother!

George


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:35 pm 
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Is it true that no matter how fast your PC is, when watching media or downloading big files your only as fast as you provider?  Even though I have DSL, most times I've checked it delivers a little less than 350 whatevers, and my live Sprint car race vids are choppy or buffering all the time.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:45 pm 
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Yeah you can have the fastest computer in the world but if you're watching an internet video or u/ling or d/ling files you're only going to be as fast as your internet service provides you or in Ken's case or anyone else on dial-up, the maximum speed of the modems.  Once you have the video or other file d/l'ed then your fast computer can process it and it looks normal.  But streaming broadcasts are internet dependant.

Ken can go into the games since I'm not a gamer but there are some games that guys play each other over the net that is vastly dependant upon the capabilities of the video card or cards installed but, ultimately, still dependant on the internet speed.

George


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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:58 pm 
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The parts are starting to roll in.  The motherboard, RAM, CPU, CPU cooler, and power supply are here.  I'm still shopping for the case, video card, and hard drive.  I will be changing a few of the specs as I've decided to go with a WD 640GB hard drive vs the Seagate.  My continued research has shown that the WD is a faster drive and is more reliable and only slightly more expensive.

I also found a LG DVD burner with Lightscribe for about $35 including shipping from Newegg.  That's about $40 cheaper than the same drive from Circuit City or Best Buy.  I was going to use a DVD drive that I had on hand but for $35 I'm going to add the new one.  I have been using a USB burner from LG for the last few months and am sold on their products.  They're good quality stuff.

I was really impressed with the quality of the Gigabyte motherboard.  It looks very nice.  Likewise with the Corsair power supply.  When I opened its box, I found the PSU wrapped in a velvet bag much like a bottle of Crown Royal.  Each wire bundle coming out of the PSU is encased in a conduit of synthetic weave material and has very sturdy looking connectors.  It should make for a very neat installation.

I'll try to get some pics up later tonight.

George


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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:13 pm 
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Here's a few pics.  I left them large so you could zoom in on them, hence, the links.  I've installed the CPU and cooler and the RAM.  The blue shields you see on the RAM are heat sinks to keep them cool.

motherboard pic 1

motherboard pic 2

motherboard pic 3

The pic above really shows the size of the CPU cooler I bought to replace the stock cooler with.  It's BIG!  This thing will generate some heat so it was important to get a large efficient cooler.

power supply pic 1

The power supply and all the leads.

George


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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:30 am 
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Parts list at the top of this thread has been finalized and all parts have been ordered.  So we'll start the build later in the week when everything arrives.

George


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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:51 am 
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Hey George I am also curious of how much speed you will pick up converting files, like AVI to DVD to burn. I have been doing it alot lately and it uses 99-100% CPU on my machine to do 1 movie. About 1 hour and it's converted, burn't and ejected. I was wondering what you could do to really fix this issue. I have 1 gig of RAM, 3000 AMD Athlon Processor, and a 80 gig drive.

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